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Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 11:33:31 AM

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What is your personal epistemology? I think it is a great failing of our education system that we graduate people from High School and haven't forced a consideration of this question at least once by then. I had originally started this post to address two issues concerning convictions, but have decided to separate them as I have been working on this post since I hit an alarming obstacle in my "Freewill Again" thread. (Thanks FounDit)Suffice it to say for this post that something in that thread forced a review of my personal epistemology, (may be a better term for that), but I at one time, formally investigated and constructed a criteria for what I would consider knowledge, and how certain I could be of it. This happened shortly after I had, for the third time in life, to discard everything I had thought I'd known in regard to the "big questions". This post is a bit disjointed, and has some redundancy, as I originally began it with the quote below of something I wrote on the night of the epiphany that led to the adoption of natural science, as my Fundamental Interpretation of Reality, and this has been basically a preamble.


Quote:
...Somewhere in the dim beginnings
of the short recorded history of these organized systems of star stuff,
a question, the fundamental question rose to the lips of men.
Why, why are there things that are rather than no things?
The quest for truth and meaning was born.
From among the ranks of men, created by the random assortment
of 23 pairs of small, sticky, strands of chemicals,
arose adventurers to take up the quest
men and women with burning questions in their minds,
how can we know? and know for certain?
and
if truth can be known,
ought not truth, be the basis of all we do?
driven by the fires of question and doubt
and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for certainty...
(circa 1987)


"How do you know, that you know, what you know?" I guess you could say that has been my personal motto, since I wrote a bit of prose, on the night that I finally accepted that my answers to "the big questions", had all changed. Over a quarter century ago I was confronted with the fact that I no longer had the final authority (i.e. God)that I'd had for over 10 years, and that I would have to come up with my own method for determining the veracity of information. Well not from scratch certainly, epistemology, and the scientific method, already existed.

Thus began my investigation into the nature of being personally convinced, and upon what basis it was acceptable to say "I know," about anything.(I sometimes refer to this as my "Cartesian Crisis") As it happened I was in my third year at a Cal State University, so I had plenty of resources available. I had also been drafted into a rather large, ongoing research project on campus, and my partner in the analytical section was also keenly interested in the issue. This is when we came up with the term "Fundamental Interpretation of Reality"(FIR), as what ever one's was, would have a large determining factor on what one considered the final authority on the veracity of knowledge. As our FIR was a natural science one, rejecting any supernatural causation of reality, revelation, would not be considered as a valid source, of reliable knowledge. So then, how could we know, and with what certainty?

First we acknowledged, that knowledge is not a simple dichotomy, and that what we were really after, was how much confidence we could have in any particular example of it. We further decided that the aspect of knowledge that allowed for confidence, was what kind, and how much, authority the knowledge was based on. So we came up with "The Authority of Information Scale", and though we never got around to formalizing it, decided it would be a Likert Scale, numerically ranging from 1 to perhaps 7 or ten. The description of the points along the scale would be something like,
1) "I believe." I have no empirical evidence, or logical reasoning for this position, it's a nice idea and I like it.
Ranging upwards through...
My offhand opinion.
My considered opinion.
...
I would strongly assert.
I am practically convinced.
10) "I am totally convinced." Given the abundance of the evidence and the sound rational of the interpretation of that evidence, I see no other possible conclusion, at this time.

We also decided on a few guidelines;
Anything that you came up with on your own, was automatically suspect, and could not be valued above an opinion level.
Anything that a research group came up with that pushed a frontier of knowledge, could only be considered, at most, a strong assertion, until replicated independently, and subjected to peer review.
For any conclusion to be valued in the upper third of the scale, whatever the conclusion was, it had to be traceable to, and logically proceed from, the first principles of all relevant fields.

Originally there were a few more, and the above were better worded, but I really want to get this out there for discussion, and I think that gets the idea across.
So I think the phrase, "I know" is dangerous, and that something like the above scale would be far more adaptive, perhaps not that formal, but I do think there is a problem here and at a population level.


Consider the range of veracity that is hidden in the following statements.

I know, I think, therefor I am.
I know, my wife will like this gift.
I know, freewill is a myth.
I know, if Romney had won the election, things would have gotten worse for most people.
I know, evolution is a valid, and mostly accurate scientific theory.
I know, playing the lottery is a waste of money.
I know, electrons are negative, and protons are positive.
I know, that everything I know beyond "Cogito Ergo Sum", is open to doubt.
I know, that whole wheat, is better than white bread.
I know, I like ice cream.
I know I've made my point with those examples.




leonAzul
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 3:26:27 PM

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I know what I know because I have tested it and found it to be valid for certain conditions.

Everything else is provisional and suspect.


excaelis
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 5:43:00 PM

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I know Nothing,, but I suspect a lot.

I've rather given up knowing anything. I tend to treat each day as a potential booby trap, unpleasant new realities popping up like bloody meerkats every time I turn around. You might as well try to rake water.
Hope2
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 8:55:12 PM

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I only wish I knew something - besides 1, 6, and 9. Probably 5 but I am not a paleontologist.

I thought older was wiser. But all I can do is try to not make the same mistakes again. I just make new ones saying 'I wish I had known that'.

I like LA's definition. Usually I am with Ex. But lately it has been pleasant new realities popping up and I hope they continue. (About time.)

As for your scale, Epi, good idea. All of us should be reconsidering what we have believed forever. Some of our beliefs are not even our own. We were told them as children by our parents, by our friends and peers, and by institutions such as the church. As adults we need to be continually revising our ideas as we learn more.

I do know chocolate is good for you! Angel
excaelis
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 8:59:24 PM

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Glad to hear you have good meerkats, Hope. Long may they reign !
Hope2
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 10:28:31 PM

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Thanks, Ex.



[image not available]
timbuys
Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 10:42:34 PM
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I know everything I need to know.....and when I need to know more...I'll know more
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 8:20:07 PM

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I don't know much, but the opinions/viewpoints I posted in "Free Will" and other posts are the result of 27 years of testing a hypothesis I had formulated back in '87, and have yet to find a situation that does not validate it. So for me, that makes it trustworthy and true.

This also ties in to your post, Epi, on Richard Dawkins. I suggest that you at times feel the need to apologize for him because he allows himself to forget that the prime directive, if you will, for proper conduct between humans, is respect and consideration.

It is something all of us too often neglect to cultivate and practice, but mimicking objectionable behavior generally isn't productive.
Hope2
Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 10:02:42 PM

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FounDit,

I have not read those posts but now I am intrigued.

Would it be too much trouble for you to give a short synopsis here - if that is possible? If they are too long, I will go search for that thread later.
Thanks.
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 11:07:17 PM

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Hope2,
This might serve as a synopsis, but I am experiencing a great deal of trepidation in stating it so briefly. To serve only as an example, the formula, E=MC2 doesn’t begin to convey to the mind the complexity of the forces that work behind it. In like manner, this synopsis doesn’t convey the complexity of the source, or the manifestations of that source in our daily lives either, but is an extremely simple over-view. Also, although it was written in response to the topic of Free Will, I submit that this is the prime motivation for all our behaviors. It is this hypothesis that I referred to in my post.

Quote FounDit:
“The "thing" about motivation, as I see it, is that it satisfies a desire within which results in pleasure, or a sense of satisfaction with self. As an example, would you make a decision that results in you experiencing a reduction in you sense of self-worth? How about a poor social image? Bad behavior? The purchase of a home or vehicle? Would you make a choice in any decision that you would feel embarrassed about? In all your decisions, what motivates you to make the choices you make if not the fact that they are a reflection upon you within your social stratum? Can you think of any decision that is not, in some way, a reflection upon you, a reflection upon the image you have of yourself or which you want to project outwardly to your fellow humans? (Emphasis FDit)

In my opinion, it is this that determines our choices, and it is this that dominates and controls our will; it is this that results in our will not being truly free. Our will is held hostage to our innermost desires for approval, both from others and ourselves. Each decision may be different, but the reason or motivation is always the same.”

Also, there is this, I wrote:
“In this sense, all humans do exactly what they want to do, no more, no less. Every action or decision to act that one makes is based on the desire to do what you want to do. What you are doing at any given time is just that, what you want to do, or else you would be doing something different, something you want to do more. (ETA: and what you want is what I describe in the preceding paragraph — approval either from self or others.)

leonAzul wrote:
In general, and as a pragmatic argument, human behavior is statistically highly predictable, much according to the influences you have outlined, but that still does not prove that all behavior is pre-determined and absent of Free Will.

I answered:
I submit that all human behavior has, at its root, the cause I have put forth.

Hope, this can become very deep and involved, but gives you an idea of the basics. You might also read my responses on page 3 of the OP “Free Will Again”.


Dreamy
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 1:14:26 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
What is your personal epistemology?

I think it is a great failing of our education system that we graduate people from High School and haven't forced a consideration of this question at least once by then.


Objection, your honour! Education of any sort should not be forced on anyone.

This truth I have guarded diligently since my teenage years at which time I realised that the education system was a microcosm of academic tyranny, and was itself failing to be educated by the history it strived to make its students aware off.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 6:14:53 AM

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Dreamy wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
What is your personal epistemology?

I think it is a great failing of our so called education system that we graduate people from High School and haven't forced a consideration of this question at least once by then.


Objection, your honour! Education of any sort should not be forced on anyone.

This truth I have guarded diligently since my teenage years at which time I realised that the education system was a microcosm of academic tyranny, and was itself failing to be educated by the history it strived to make its students aware off.


Oops thanks Dreamy, I forgot to include my usual caveat when I use the term education system. but I do not agree that education of any sort should not be forced on developing humans, if fact I think if we lived by that precept civilization would collapse. Whereas, if everyone were equipped to intelligently question authority, authority of all types, including that of our "so called" education system, would be more accountable.
bethworthy
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 11:44:00 AM
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I don't believe in failing of our education system. I have total faith on our system.
Dreamy
Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 3:34:38 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
I do not agree that education of any sort should not be forced on developing humans, if fact I think if we lived by that precept civilization would collapse. Whereas, if everyone were equipped to intelligently question authority, authority of all types, including that of our "so called" education system, would be more accountable.


I believe that attending school should be compulsory in the formative years but I question the methods of educating used upon those who attend. The "one size fits all" approach is patently ignorant.

Educating oneself is a most rewarding experience, but systems and institutions of education are often reactionary to those who do not march to the egoistic beat of their didactic drum.

That's largely my epistemolgy, Epiphileon.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 7:34:19 AM

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I may have unintentionally mislead the discussion from the gate, by beginning with the question "What is your personal epistemology?" The topic title also emphasizes only personal application, and while I was/am curious of if, and/or how, other members have dealt with this issue, I am also curious of what folks think of the issue in general.

It seems I can categorically state that knowledge is not a bipolar condition. I would then assert, that the general lack of acknowledgement of this is a problem at the individual level, that is only magnified at the societal level.

I provided one example of an individual attempt to solve this problem. I think that solution is probably not a generalizable solution, at least not as presented. I do think the basic idea is sound though.

One of the things I like about that solution though, and that I think should be somehow incorporated into any solution, is the emphasis on the fallibility of subjectivity. I find it disturbing that we are so easily self convinced, and that even after that discovery, and attempting to be on guard against it, it can still so easily happen.

So, what do you think of this issue, do you agree that it exists? If so, what do you think can be done about it?

footnote
Well this thread has generated less discussion than I had hoped. I am a little mystified by that, and it has prompted me to examine another aspect of the issue, that I had, perhaps mistakenly, failed to consider, which has more to do with why that mystifies me, than with the actual subject.
I edited this post to relegate what had been the opening paragraph to a footnote


Luftmarque
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 7:41:10 AM

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"Fallibility of subjectivity" good phrase that. I need to look up a book then I'll be back w/a post. Meanwhile I leave this quote from the 33 1/3 RPM record of the same name by the esteemed Firesign Theatre, "Everything You Know...Is Wrong."
==========================================================
Here it is: Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.

His thesis is that we have two systems of knowing, a fast intuitive one and a second, evolutionarily later slow, laborious, logical one. We ordinarily get by fine on system one, it's what we have in common with the other animals, and its heuristics perform well enough for survival. But it is subject to predictable failures in certain circumstances. The second system supports science and all forms of reasoning. But the "feeling" of certainty belongs to the 1st system, with the obvious fallout that that entails. Fascinating examples such as the failure of highly-paid financial consultants to out-perform a dartboard, and, better yet, the total inability of them (among many experts) to absorb that information in any way that challenges or would change their modus operandi. Epistemologically speaking, we go about our lives working with generally reliable heuristics; certainty is never in the cards, and statistical, probabilistic prediction is the best we can do (I am still struggling to get a feel for Bayesian analysis). I have the sense that what I do is about 80% responsible for what happens to me, with 20% due to randomness in the world, but I am persuaded that the ratio is actually the other way around.
pedro
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:57:13 AM
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Next time I talk with my bank manager I'll take a dart board along. Weren't there some claims that 'fuzzy logic' could improve the success rate? Probably it will disappear into the financial archives along with game theory.

Personally I think we have some input into ou destiny but if we reflected long enough the number of random elements, plus or minus, tend to even each other out and some semblance of what we intended comes out at the other end.
early_apex
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 11:20:36 AM
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At a place where I once worked, the Incoming QC manager had a plaque on the wall. It read, "Without data, it's just another opinion".

If you want to approach certainty rigorously, the answer to "how do you know?" would have to come from experimental results.

Mark, thanks for the quote from Firesign Theater. I think of it often. "See your dog lying on the floor over there? He knows more than you do!"

In my own experience, I went through most of 5 years of University in "sponge mode", and was able to recite many things that I had learned upon the way, only to learn that some things were incorrect. Now I try to include citations with my "facts".

I have also experienced moments of great certainty in my life, only to look back and see that I was in error at the time. This has occurred enough for me to consider feelings of certainty as a negative indicator of truth. Even in the faith, I have observed people going off on tangents that I seriously doubt are God-directed. Some things must be taken on faith, but as a follower of Jesus, I have to observe his life and note how many times he acted unpredictably.

Open-mindedness is seldom comfortable, but it can insulate us from rude awakenings.
dusty
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 3:03:13 PM

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The thing about societies such as the type we live in these days (the year of 2013 for me here on the West Coast of the United States) which I would vaguely describe as significantly advanced in our knowledge of the fine details at work that are behind the curtain in the mechanisms of the many systems and cycles of how things in this world work.

The only way that we advance to get where we are on this day, in regards to the things we know, and that knowing being qualified as we surely know for sure that we know the truth about it, we are only able to pass through this point because we are able to take other people's word for truth.

So in a sense, we don't really know what we know for sure, until much later. As in What I choose to put my faith in today, by the time that all other faith in other understanding can be proven as false of significantly less true than the ideas I choose to put my faith in, whatever is was my faith had been in is a moot point.

Such is the delay, and so are those rewarded in many different ways, they who were able to faithfully stand behind the thoughts and ideas that later could be proved as The Whole Truth

If we were not able to benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of those who lived during times that occurred before Us, humans could not advance much further than all the rest of the animals.

But I must realize, that those animals, know what they know, however it is rarely that they know anything beyond what they know. The concepts that animals know, are written in to their very physical being, hardwired with absoluteness of true and written with the stamp of beyond any doubt that we call evolution. What the animal knows, by way of what evolution wrote, was written after understanding the facts as a language so fluently that it can be wired as no brainer, no thought required, living automated machine.

Living automation at is most automated state, means you cannot will it to stop, and if you do it will be overiden, like willing your heart to stop beating is not something that can be achieved by will alone. Breathing you can delay, by your body will only obey long enough to entertain stupidity, at which point you will pass out, and allow for a better decision maker than an unconscious person to take over the decision making process.

Keep in mind it doesn't take very much sense to have more sense than an unconscious person.

Then there are the instincts which are very characteristic to specific Genus and more so to the Genus's species which I believe are also concepts of true, that the animal surely does in fact know what it knows. The things it knows are lessons learned the slow, hard, and damaging ways of first hand experience, which includes the very damaging and often deadly trial and error. Instinctual knowledge that is written in an language called inherency by the hand of evolution is to know what they know. And that is their entire world

And that world there, theirs, is contained by ours, as in it exists within a larger world that includes governance that is not in the world but above it, and that governance is not Divine, that is of man. That is Our hand, and with our knowledge, as we understand it.

Our knowledge allows US to live outside the seasons of the natural world. We can get a strawberry in the winter and snow ski in the summer, as we can make use of both hemispheres of the physical world, that take place simultaneously because we understand concepts and those things we know, we know. We know well enough to understand that if we can't get stawberries from the Southern Hemisphere in the Northern during December, we know it is not because strawberries lost the ability to survive outside of their niche, in other words we are aware those strawberries were not miracles of berries grown without enough light and too cold to grow.

and our knowledge which enables human beings to live outside of the what nature provides on the time scale of immediancy, from keeping milk cold in the summer to refining metal, to building wheels, to concocting medicine, to manufacturing light bulbs, to the telegraph, to wireless transmissions and computer processors is only achievable because of our ability to accurately record those our interpretations of the meaning of those hard learned lessons

But at the pinnacle levels of advancement we don't always know what we know, for unlike the hand of evolution, we pen the direction that looks right, in the name of speed, because the rewards of advancing appear to a no brainer.

But we were lucky, did we not almost let foolishness bring about what would have been a man-made end of an epoch, a suddenly mass die-off of the living in the 60s and 70s with the advancement of nuclear knowledge, but the ego truly foolish men?

The advancements that have taken place dictate that we are required to take another person's word to be truthful and not the ignorant word of a fool, to achieve what we have achieved up to this point means that there are some, several, many, at least there are a presence of of knowns that I do not really know

Because of that, it is something I take very seriously that I recognize what those things are, so I take even more seriously the people I trust enough to say that their word is part of my foundation, as in I claim that the things I know that I know are dependent on their word, those people are held in the highest regard because if you knew me, it isn't common that I am mistaken about whether I know what know.

Trusting the right people is by far the most important thing to me as far as the process of whether or not I know what I know.

My family is highly intelligent, with that comes the heightened risk that lunacy be mistaken for intelligence without honest, caring, compassion people who care about my well being.

True friends and family lead me to believe I that together we do know what we know, and are very adept judges at determining levels of significance and importance, to the point that it would be inaccurate to say that what we put faith in, can truly be called faith.

I am too sure of the things I have faith in, I believe I know what know and can accurately sort out the knowledge accordingly, and this is due to my family friends, and Our relationship of what we call the Divine, we believe Divinity answers, and unless a person has a pretty good handle of what types of things God answers, it can be very frustrating.

By far what is more important than knowing what anyone knows for sure, is knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Only by maintaining a position is always in the right, can injustice be overcome. But honesty and truth are coming into it's days of full glory.
RuthP
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:03:55 PM

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Thinking, Fast and Slow, which Luftmarque mentioned, provides a good way of thinking about how we know something, what we think we know, and why we think we know it.

In my personal epistemology, knowing is based in the brain and memory. Knowing should be based upon (statistically valid), reproducible observation. Most of the time we are not operating on such conclusive evidence. Most of the time evidence is, instead, in memory. Memories may be of objective evidence, or the evidence may be personal observation and memory thereof. Personal observation without control (scientific meaning of control, not personal control) has a tendency to bias.

It takes focused attention to create memory; things outside the focus are lost. Uncontrolled selection of a focal point is made by the fast brain, increasing risk of bias. Objective methods of data-gathering help, but the fallibility of memory means memories tend to become biased, whether or not the original information was.

A memory is mutable--re-formed every time it is recalled. Every instance of recall/reformation is an opportunity for change.

For more on mutability: NPR Science Friday: Altering Fearful Memories; NPR Science Friday: Erasing Fearful Memories; NPR Science Friday: What Your Genes Tell You About Your Memory--those three are podcasts/listen on line; Science Friday blog: Bad Memories are a Thing of the Past.

So, this is all a rather long-winded way of saying that what I know is what I think I know, but I must always doubt the degree of surety and be prepared for change. It's what makes life interesting.

And now for some fun. Thanks to Reed College for this.

Epistemology Forever

Authorship still unknown
Compilation 2009 by Jim Kahan ’64
(sung to The Battle Hymn of the Republic)

We have sat on rainy mornings in a musty lecture hall.
We have listened to them holding forth on no damn thing at all.
We have missed an hour’s sack time just to hear the clarion call:
The Truth does not exist.

Chorus, to be sung after each verse:

Epistemology forever
Disputatio so clever
Metaphysics now or never,
[repeat last line of preceding verse].

As we’ve sat about in conference on a sunny afternoon,
We’ve been fed a lot of moral pap from Socrates to Hume,
And they’ve fed it to us gently with an imaginary spoon:
The Truth shall not be found.

We have read from Aristotle on the natural universe.
We have seen them wax loquacious on Shakespearean rosy verse.
We have gabbed on many subjects that are equally diverse.
And we can’t get more profound.

We discuss the moral notions of the frozen Eskimo,
And whether moral systems hold for all from pole to pole,
And conclude that all of mankind has a truly moral soul.
And time goes by so slow.

We have pondered o’er the problem of the ancient fate of man.
We have talked about the state of health in Bonaparte’s left hand.
We have even looked at Plato in a democratic land.
And the Truth we do not know.

We sit in lectures waiting for a word of common sense,
But we’re not about to find it ‘cause the lecturer is dense.
So we scribble stupid ditties for our sanity’s defense,
For the Truth does not exist.

Now we spend our time in wondering if we have got free will,
And then we ask, “is justice good?” but we have had our fill
Of ultimate reality and Philosophic swill,
For we do not exist!

Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:26:30 PM

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Thank you Ruth for those lyrics, I have never seen those before, and they are fabulous. Your point about memory is well taken, and it seems you are taking the issue even a step further than I have.
(I have recently come to a point in my study of Edelman's theory of consciousness, in which he brings up the notion of non-representational memory, I'm going to finish that chapter and drop back three and start again.)
Anyway, you have definitely struck at one aspect of the heart of the issue, I want to discuss here. I have to look into Luftmarque's reference, it certainly seems to ring in harmony with an evolutionarily developed process.
If you have the time, and are of the inclination, I would very much appreciate hearing your take on something like that "Authority of Information" scale I proposed, but even more importantly the questions of my February 15, 2013 7:34:19 AM post.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:31:22 PM

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Luftmarque wrote:
"Fallibility of subjectivity" good phrase that. I need to look up a book then I'll be back w/a post. Meanwhile I leave this quote from the 33 1/3 RPM record of the same name by the esteemed Firesign Theatre, "Everything You Know...Is Wrong."
==========================================================
Here it is: Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.


thanks Mark I will definitely look into this, that certainly sounds like an evolutionarily developed process, which I think would also have implications for the notion of freewill. I'll be looking for some sort of online synopsis though, I can not possibly add another book to my reading right now.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:12:08 AM

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Bloody hell Mark, Kahneman's is an excellent work on this issue. I read a number of reviews, so far, and read the Wikipedia page on it. It took serious effort not to buy the book immediately, but it has definitely moved into high priority status.

Wow!!! Daniel Kahneman-Thinking That We Know
I will definitely read this guy's book.

What is really amazing, and very exciting, is the diversity of fields, and serious investigators, that are making independent observations about the functioning of the human mind that mesh so well together. This guy's notion of the psychological activity of associative memory, of "system one" (fast), and "system two"(slow) thinking, as far as I can tell, drops right into Mountcastle's description of higher brain architecture, and Edelman's model of the physiology of higher brain function.

Back on topic, I would assert that he makes another valid argument on why people should be highly suspect of what they think they know, my question is how do we get people to understand this?

In the last two minutes of the above video, he identifies what is probably the biggest obstacle to this goal, and I think is why, many people think that this goal is an unreasonable expectation. I refuse to give up on the race for human, which is why I was accused by some at the university of being a wild eyed optimist.

My previous question whether or not this is a real issue, I feel is answered sufficiently at this point.
Luftmarque
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:56:48 AM

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Glad you find D.K.'s work relevant, Epi, and thanks for that link to his talk, I'll watch it later. For me, that book was also a good "tying together" of a number of threads of my interests.
Absurdicuss
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 10:19:00 PM
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Fascinating read....your posts that is.
jmhummel32
Posted: Saturday, March 2, 2013 12:17:20 PM
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My Study of Knowledge

First of all, I don't know shit about neuroscience. So here goes....

The human brain exercises knowledge all the time. I can think of two ways knowledge can enter its way into the human brain. The first is instruction, from my peers, on the truth of some state, "The Earth is four billion years old". The second is trial, I try and fail many times, but eventually I know how to drive a standard automobile.

Knowledge is pattern recognition. Observable states of the universe are hardwired into the brain, and the brain patterns its library of knowledge as a mental reflection of the universe.

So I act out my nature, and often claim specific facts, act out subconscious reflexes, all using my infallible book keeper, the brain.

But sometimes I'm wrong. A previous pattern is disturbed by new evidence. A former believer loses his faith in god from reading a book on evolution.

So I know what I know because my subconscious instructs my conscious on whether or not I have sufficient evidence for knowledge.

I have tremendously strong conviction the world is free. My evidence is logic. I now introduce some variable, X. I ask what is X? Lets say X represents some number. You have no evidence to suggest any specific number. What's your assumption about X? I assume X can equal any possible number.

Substitute X with the variable "What exists in nature?". Before examining the evidence, what assumption would you make? I assume any state can exist, what reason do I possess to assume some specific state? This is the free assumption, the a priori assumption. See the pattern?

So I guess I don't know the world is free, but I assume it is.
amorvincitomnia
Posted: Saturday, March 2, 2013 10:43:25 PM
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my response is
i do not know
i do not care if i know

i only care if i act
or if i tryed to act

knowledge is meaning less unless acted with.
therefore knowing means nothing unless it
is used to act
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 4:19:56 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Bloody hell Mark, Kahneman's is an excellent work on this issue. I read a number of reviews, so far, and read the Wikipedia page on it. It took serious effort not to buy the book immediately, but it has definitely moved into high priority status.

Wow!!! Daniel Kahneman-Thinking That We Know
I will definitely read this guy's book.

What is really amazing, and very exciting, is the diversity of fields, and serious investigators, that are making independent observations about the functioning of the human mind that mesh so well together. This guy's notion of the psychological activity of associative memory, of "system one" (fast), and "system two"(slow) thinking, as far as I can tell, drops right into Mountcastle's description of higher brain architecture, and Edelman's model of the physiology of higher brain function.

Back on topic, I would assert that he makes another valid argument on why people should be highly suspect of what they think they know, my question is how do we get people to understand this?

In the last two minutes of the above video, he identifies what is probably the biggest obstacle to this goal, and I think is why, many people think that this goal is an unreasonable expectation. I refuse to give up on the race for human, which is why I was accused by some at the university of being a wild eyed optimist.

My previous question whether or not this is a real issue, I feel is answered sufficiently at this point.

There is an old expression: fortes in unitate, «l'union fait la force».

When it involves critical review and independent confirmation of observations and conclusions, then it is a Beautiful Thing™.

When it involves mere solipsism, then not so much.
Ray41
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 5:06:17 AM

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If all my knowledge is stored in the one tenth of my brain we are supposedly limited to, then, what the heck is the other nine tenths doing and, why cannot I use/access it?Anxious
It must be there that all the answers to my questions, like 'how do I know what I know' are stored.Think
amorvincitomnia
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 8:40:23 AM
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Ray41 wrote:
If all my knowledge is stored in the one tenth of my brain we are supposedly limited to, then, what the heck is the other nine tenths doing and, why cannot I use/access it?Anxious
It must be there that all the answers to my questions, like 'how do I know what I know' are stored.Think

that is reasonable, but
the one tenths rule is much more of a guide line.
There are people who can use one half of their brain and it has been shown to have little to no effect on their higher cognitive function.
Luftmarque
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 10:25:49 AM

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Ray41 wrote:
If all my knowledge is stored in the one tenth of my brain we are supposedly limited to, then, what the heck is the other nine tenths doing and, why cannot I use/access it?Anxious
It must be there that all the answers to my questions, like 'how do I know what I know' are stored.Think

Simply not so, and I wish people would stop repeating this myth. See Snopes.com The Ten Percent Myth.
excaelis
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 10:51:47 AM

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[quote=amorvincitomnia][quote=Ray41]If all my knowledge is stored in the one tenth of my brain we are supposedly limited to, then, what the heck is the other nine tenths doing and, why cannot I use/access it?Anxious


I know what most of my brain's doing...





[image not available]
dusty
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 11:35:49 AM

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Luftmarque wrote:
Ray41 wrote:
If all my knowledge is stored in the one tenth of my brain we are supposedly limited to, then, what the heck is the other nine tenths doing and, why cannot I use/access it?Anxious
It must be there that all the answers to my questions, like 'how do I know what I know' are stored.Think

Simply not so, and I wish people would stop repeating this myth. See Snopes.com The Ten Percent Myth.


Despite the fact that I am sure snopes dot com is a wealth of information all based on truth, that particular article is quite wrong. The only thing correct it that it states is the fallacy in believing that the 90% which is mostly inactive holds all sort of paranormal knowledge. The truth is that the majority of the brain doesn't isn't part of the seemingly infinite neural pathways that fire in any of our conscious thoughts. It takes the majority of all living wired electrical connections being reserved for "maintenance" or in other words "not available for use" so that the mind can continue to learn, so that certain pathways of important thought processes can be "shuffled" or moved around to accomodate learning.

The human mind is NOT like a computer, it has no tables or map with empty spaces that are defined and named waiting for info. That is a computer, which have been fairly dang fast yet just as stupid as ever compared to intelligent beings' minds.

It is almost comical that in the linked article they mention a fictional blurb about a gun shot victim. The real life example of what could possibly happen is the story of Finneis Gage (I believe that was his name, it very similar if not it and very well known so I am sure a search engine can produce articles written on it, however the crucial aspect during this day and age is to make sure the source is reputable)

The fellow had an iron tamping rod thrust all the way through his skull by accident during a out of order procedure in the drilling and busting up rocks with explosives. Other then the trauma of the tamping rod colliding with his head, there were nothing wrong with him and his head wound healed. But without all the space being reserved that allows for our minds to learn and add memories, or forget after about a year his personality became noticeable different, after two years it became problematic and eventually ole mister Gage was without any doubt outright lunatic with wild mood swings and became dangerous. I can't recall how long it took him to fully slide into dementia and did indeed lead to his life being cut short, but his skull is in a museum somewheres and cases like his are why it's common knowledge that human only have roughly ten percent of their human or mammal brain available to be used. It doesn't mean that parts can never be used but it is fact that if we only had 1000 electrical wires to make due with in our head, only 100 would be in use at any given time.

The downside is the the human brain cannot be reformatted or have info re-installed like a computer can, but there are so many amazing and beautiful thing a mind is capable of doing without the restriction of tables and grids that allow computers to preform similar functions, but in a completely unlike manner, or not at all in the same way as brains work

****edited to remove my misrecallection his skull was in England and to add

I wouldn't use wikipedia as a source for this particular article, like so many entries in the wiki the Phineas article has fallen prey to digiratti, the digital illuminatti if the real group publicly known as "the illuminati" had members who cared less about truth, and more about being right in the eyes of their peers as opposed to being actually being in the right or correct with accurate information. A theory theat was remarkably explain by Daniel Kahneman (no pun with his last name) except luckily it is based on flawed theory, because what people believe does not change nor effect the truth in reality.

But anyway, the wiki from the get go has numerous completely wrong time stamps for the actual changes that were made as well as allows completely Bogus images, as clearly the image shown is NOT Phineas and not holding the tamping rod that got shot through his head.

The actual rod is about as thick as rebar used to reinforce concrete but without ribbed rings for the concretes pleasure.

it really is a shame that governing body of wikipedia doesn't check it's logs and either allows false time stamps or is actually responsible for some of the changes.

It a shame because the only thing worse then all the destroyed irreplaceable records during the Christian Sponsored Crusades would have been if they had gotten away with replacing them with their insane beliefs about the "truth" according to the governing body of the church at the time. The only thing worse than not knowing the facts because the were destroyed, if believing the fabricated "facts" of what records they had finished "correcting" before they realized people were willing to die over the truth, and that the real patriots serving God couldn't care less about the people in power who pretending to be god, no matter what punishment those without any authority to afflict them with.
Ray41
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 5:16:34 PM

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Ray41 wrote:
If all my knowledge is stored in the one tenth of my brain we are supposedly limited to, then, what the heck is the other nine tenths doing and, why cannot I use/access it?Anxious
It must be there that all the answers to my questions, like 'how do I know what I know' are stored.Think


Whoops, that was written tongue in cheek so to speak and sorta went feral.Anxious

Dusty, how can you write about the Crusades, etc. which is so far left of topic that it is off the page.
Brevity will see more people reading your posts instead of skimming or, ignoring them completely.Pray
Luftmarque
Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 11:58:35 PM

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@Dusty nobody said that 100% of the brain participates in conscious activity, only that it is not "unused."
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